In our discussion of Whitman earlier this term, we talked about the way in which Ralph Waldo Emerson served as an inspiration and mentor for the young poet in the years before and just after the publication of Leaves of Grass. “I was simmering, simmering, simmering,” Whitman is reputed to have said, “and Emerson brought me to a boil.”

Abraham Cahan

Abraham Cahan also had a mentor: the novelist William Dean Howells. Cahan